Being a hypochondriac with internet access who hates making doctor’s appointments because I’m always worried that it’s all in my head means that I’m constantly asking this question.
Look up any injury on Runner’s World and you’ll find how to tape it, stretch it and rehab it yourself (how this isn’t some sort of liability, I don’t know — maybe because runners don’t blame other people for their problems, we blame our own stupid bodies for not cooperating with our awesome training plans). But if you look up the same injury on WebMD, you should go to the emergency room.
For example, my foot really hurts. It’s worse than yesterday. I’m limping and I can barely put weight on it without wincing. That being said, it’s not that bad. It’s not sharp pain and it’s not unbearable. It’s just that walking is my main mode of transportation these days (due to mass public transit failure…don’t get me started…fuck the mbta).
I tried to ice it last night and kept it elevated. This morning it’s still not happy. Applied some KT tape and took some Advil. I’m mobile, but wincing. I’m leaving work tomorrow at 1pm to go up to Vermont for a ski trip. This is super fucking bad timing.
If I call right now, I can probably get an emergency appointment with a podiatrist. But, what’s the emergency? Limping? It doesn’t feel like an emergency. After much googling, I don’t think anything’s broken (although there are a bajillion tiny bones in the foot, so who knows). I do think I tore or otherwise annoyed the peroneal tendon. Yep, on the same foot that I have tendonitis on the inside tendon, I think I did something to outside tendon, too! Go me!
This foot is bad luck. WebMD and other health care centers say I should see a doctor immediately because I’m limping. Running forums tell me I should self-treat for 2-4 weeks and then see a doctor. ARG.
I’ve decided on a combination. Because I need to make a plan and a point at which I decide to go to the doctor. Otherwise, I’ll just sit here and struggle with the decision until I finally convince myself that I fractured something and need surgery and make an appointment with a surgeon. I’m going to continue icing, elevating, taping tonight and tomorrow (though icing at work isn’t really possible). I’m going to do an arm workout and an ab workout, so that I’m not totally missing out on my fitness. I will go up to the ski house tomorrow night as planned. If I can stand on Saturday, I’ll do one or two runs on the mountain and then drink at the lodge. If I cannot stand on Saturday, I will hang back at the house by myself, get some homework done, then enjoy drinks and hot tub until everyone gets back.
My hungover ass will call the doctor when I’m back in town on Monday if it’s not better.